Thessaloniki, one of the oldest cities in Europe, is a city of incredible charm that is always ready for tourists, and of course the inevitable station for those who fly to Greece, and especially to Halkidiki.
One interesting fact is that this city was named after Alexander the Great’s sister, called Thessaloniki, as it is called in Greek. From Serbia, from Belgrade to Thessaloniki there are 630 km and you can also travel with the direct line of Air Serbia. Next to the plane, you can reach Thessaloniki by car or bus. The express train, which operates on the Thessaloniki-Belgrade route and vice versa, only runs on weekends through the regular driving order to the final destinations, and on working days only to Gevgelia. Passengers using an express train during business days have organized a shuttle bus from Gevgelia to Thessaloniki. If you go by car, take into account that on weekends in the summer, the city’s access is curtailed due to the heavy traffic jams, so you may be stuck for a long time.
If you visit Thessaloniki for one day, you should consider that many shops work shorter on Mondays and Wednesdays, and museums and cultural monuments do not work on Mondays. It is also good to know that many private shops work twice and take a break from 2.00 to 5.00 PM.
When you arrive in the center of Thessaloniki, keep in mind that you can park your car in some of many garages from the port of Thessaloniki to White Tower and where the usage is charged at an hour from 2.5 to 10 EUR, or you can park on the street where you can find some free space and by the parking ticket that you will hook from the inside of your windshield (the price is from 3 to 5 EUR for the whole day). Saturdays from 3 PM to Monday to 8 AM, public parking is free in Thessaloniki.
Promenade by the sea from the port to the White Tower would be our choice for the beginning of a tour toThessaloniki. The White Tower is considered to be the most important symbol of Thessaloniki, and this tower is actually a Byzantine tower from the 12th century built by Suleiman the Magnificient, which today has been turned into a Byzantine museum. There are still prison chambers because it used to serve as a prison and from the top of the tower there is a wonderful view of the port and the center of Thessaloniki. The entrance costs 2 EUR and it is worth it, because as you climb the stairs to the top you will pass the history of the entire Thessaloniki.
Somewhere along the half of the promenade, you will surely see the beautiful Aristotle Square, the heart of Thessaloniki. This square is surroundede by luxury hotels, restaurants and cafes, and one of them is also popular Gordon’s cafe, owned by famous serbian basketball player Pedja Stojakovic. Below is a beautiful park and the market of Modiana, always perfectly supplied with fresh foods, which you must visit if you have time.
Near by there is the famous Tsimiski Street, the main shopping street of the city filled with shops of well-known brands and several multi-storey department stores, which also have other entertainment facilities. When you turn from this street to the street Agias Sofias, you will be welcomed by a large number of local brands at very affordable prices. You can have long, unforgettable walks here because the street is only for pedestrians and certainly enjoy shopping, as in summer prices are mostly lowered. As you approach the sea, you will come across boutiques of prestigious brands such as Louis Vuitton and Emporio Armani, and most of them are located in Proxenou Koromila Street, right by the sea. When you are tired of walking, our recommendation is to find your place in the shade of Nikis Avenue where there are countless cafes and restaurants looking directly at the sea, and refresh yourself with the Greek frappe (this is actually a cold Nes coffe with water).
In case you are visiting Thessaloniki only and exclusively for shopping, visit the shopping center Cosmos, located 5 km from the airport, near the Kalamaria suburb, at EG Olympou 106. Cosmos is the favorite destination of many tourists on their return from holidays because it offers a huge selection of brands that can not be found in some countries, and the sales go in mid-July and last about a month. Of course, there is also Jumbo, for the purchase of all household necessities and things for children at very favorable prices, located in three locations. Ikea is nearby, so this is a good choice for those who are not able to visit Ikea in Belgrade or some other town.
If you are a romantic soul, also visit Ano Poli. This part of the city is considered an old city, and with its quiet streets and two-sided fortifications, the soul of Thessaloniki is represented. This is the steepest part of the city, but from here it gives the most beautiful view. Make a coffee break and sit in one of cafes to feel the spirit of this quarter, see the architect of the surrounding buildings and “breathe in” Thessaloniki. Ano Poli is on the UNESCO list of cultural heritage and for the preservation of traditional appearance, it is protected by the Greek government.
If you want extra entertainment next to the sightseeing of the city, and you are flying with children, it would be great to visit the aqua park located some 15 km from Thessaloniki. When you head towards Halkidiki, turn left at the village of Tagarades and you are there. Entrance fee for adults is 14,5 EUR, for children from 4-14 years it is 11 EUR, and if you arrive 3 hours before closing, you will pay 9 EUR per person, which can be a good option to rest after shopping. The working hours are from 10 AM to 6 PM in June, until 7 PM in July and until 8 PM in the second half of July. Otherwise, Waterland owns cafes and restaurants, ambulance and 1000 parking places, and annually it is visited by up to 130.000 people!
Another option not far from Thessaloniki, in the district of Thessaly, is the Thessaloniki Zoo in a beautiful coniferous forest spreading to 33.000 sq.m., which can also be an unavoidable station if you are flying with children. The working hours of the garden are from 9 AM to 7 PM and the good news is that the entrance is free.
And if you still wish a bit more of the sea, they say that Perea is the most beautiful beach of Thessaloniki, peaceful, stylish and clean. It is located 20 km from Thessaloniki, within the hotel Golden Star, the water is shallow and the real paradise for young children. On the beach there are hot water showers, and deck chairs and umbrellas are available with an ordered drink. Another beach for recommendation is the Agia Triada, a few kilometers long, 24 km from Thessaloniki, with children’s playgrounds and sports grounds, and the city’s regular traffic line goes there.
Whatever you decide, we are sure that you will be splendid because Thessaloniki is a city that is always ready for tourists with countless attractions, and it’s up to you to choose what to see. We wish you a pleasant time!